Nursing homes are supposed to be places where residents can live in peace and safety, attended by nurses and caregivers who are sympathetic and concerned about their well-being. But too often these days, nursing homes are beset with problems – such as residents who suffer physical and mental abuse.
The numbers don’t lie, and they are eye-opening.
Per a study by the Nursing Home Abuse Center, more than three million Americans live in nursing facilities. And a recent study of 2,000 nursing homes found that the abuse rate was 44 percent and the rate of neglect was a staggering 95 percent.
What Is Neglect?
Neglect is not merely the act of ignoring someone’s needs, it actually falls into several categories:
Emotional Neglect – Caregivers fail to provide basic services to nursing home residents such as basic conversation.
Medical Neglect – Caregivers fail to give residents their daily medication or fail to address the medical needs of a resident, such as heeding complaints about bedsores or infections.
Hygiene – Caregivers do not help residents with basic hygiene such as showering, oral hygiene, laundry and bathing.
Neglect can cause a number of problems among nursing home residents, including mental anguish, depression and even suicide.
What Is Abuse?
The fact that nearly half of all nursing home residents in the Nursing Home Abuse Center said that they suffered abuse is troubling.
The difference between neglect and abuse is that abuse is an intentional physical or mental act that is designed to demonstrate power over another person. Abuse can be physical, verbal or psychological, but in many cases it may be due to inadequate training provided to caregivers at many nursing homes throughout the country.
But it’s important to understand the most common types of abuse at nursing home facilities. Per the Caregiver Services website, these categories are:
Physical – This type of abuse can include punches, hits, kicks as well as restraining residents against their will.
Verbal – Designed to assert authority through actions such as yelling, verbal insults and public ridicule.
Psychological – This form of abuse includes physically isolating a resident from other patients, ignoring a resident or convincing a resident that no one cares about or loves them.
What makes these actions even worse is that they are perpetrated against people who can’t fight back or defend themselves in any reasonable way.
Many nursing home residents require assistance to perform the most basic tasks, which gives their caregivers inordinate power over their lives.
The tragedy is that, too often, the nurses and aides who are entrusted with the care and comfort of nursing home patients violate that trust because they understand the relative position of power they wield over those they supervise.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Although some nursing home residents may not have the capability to tell family members or staff members about the abuse they suffer, there are some warning signs that loved ones can heed to determine whether or not abuse has taken place.
Some of the most common signs are:
Emotional Withdrawal – If you notice that your loved one in a nursing home has become emotionally withdrawn, listless or non-communicative, this could be a sign that abuse of some kind is occurring.
Physical Signs – In some cases, you may notice that your loved one has developed bedsores or is sporting bruises on their arms or legs. This could be strong evidence that they are being neglected and/or being physically abused.
Unacceptable Cleanliness – Pay close attention to the level of cleanliness at the nursing home, because a nursing home that is dirty and unkempt is often one in which caregivers are not providing a level of care that is acceptable.
Fighting for Your Loved Ones
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse at a nursing home, please contact the lawyers at Miller Kory Rowe LLP at (602) 737-0342. We have a full team of attorneys, investigators and support staff who are committed to obtaining justice and compensation on your behalf. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.